I am sure many of you have watched this video regarding wealth distribution in the US.
It got me thinking about why the wealthiest have so much more morney. I agree 100% with what is said in the video, and I think that the answer is because we gave them money. "So, what can people do about it?"
So then I looked at who are the wealthiest people in America, and where do they get their money from. To no surprise, Bill Gates is on the top of the list and the top ten are worth a combined, $410.5 Billion. Of those, 136 Billion comes from Wal-Mart owners. If Sam were alive today, he would be worth almost double that of Bill Gates. The irony is Wal-Mart doesn't make or produce anything and just distribute goods at the lowest (or so they say) price possible. The top 50 make a combined $997 Billion. (Link to Forbs 400 list)
We know who the wealthiest people are, but what about the wealthiest privately held companies. That would be Cargill, a food processing company and has an annual revenue of $113.9 Billion, followed by Koch Industries, which brings in $115 Billion each year. The next on the list is Mars (also food), and they only bring in $33 Billion. (Link)
I too would rather see things move in a direction away from reality to perceived reality, but I also think about why these people are so wealthy. The answer is because we made them that way based on the goods and services we buy. When a person buys a computer at Walmart, they add to the wealth of on both Wal-Mart owners and Bill Gates. As for the Koch brothers, there wealth is a bit more complicated because it appears that they have their hands in all sorts of markets.
My question to you is how active are you in keeping track of where your money is spent and where it goes? Do you actively try to spend your money at local mom & pop retailers and farmers markets? Or is the allure of convenience too great. Do you think that active campaigns to encourage people to shop smart can be effective or is it just too easy for society to hold their nose and head into wal-mart? I know it is difficult, and even more so for lower income people who can't always afford to buy local, which in many cases does have a higher price tag attached.
Personally, we buy as much food as possible directly from farms who use organic growing practices because we believe it is healthier, and I can not think of the last time that I actually was in a Wal-Mart, but that is only because we shop at Meijer and Cost-Co, although we are cutting back on Meijer too. We also buy all of our gas at CostCo since it is less expensive and even locally owned gas stations don't make much if anything off of gas. We don't use big banks and stick with local credit unions and as we work to get out of debt, less and less of our direct income is going into the bank profit machine.
We have been looking at how to do Christmas locally, not just in where we shop, but in the goods we buy. It is not easy because there is so little that is truly produced locally in terms of Christmas gifts.
What about you? Do you line the pockets of the 50 wealthiest Americans? How do you, or do you, really keep track of where your dollar is going? Do you have other ideas on how to keep your dollars local and out of the hands of big corporations?